NTSB Identification: SEA00FA080.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 29, 2000 in FORT SMITH, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/18/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300, registration: N216BC
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The aircraft, which departed Helena, Montana, en route to Sheridan, Wyoming, entered an area of rising terrain located just south of Fort Smith, Montana. At the time the aircraft entered the area, there were variable low ceilings, snow, and rain. As the aircraft continued to the south, in an area where the distance between the mountainous/hilly terrain and the cloud base diminished, the aircraft impacted a gently up-sloping grassy ridge.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the terrain. Factors include low ceilings, snow, rain, and rising, mountainous/hilly terrain.

Full narrative available

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